Food for the Poor is doing better building houses for poor Guyanese than is the government

Dear Editor,

I have a genuine interest along with people like me who are desirous of owning their own house or home. This concern has germinated out of the slothful progress of work in relation to the actual building of houses by the Ministry of Housing for our fellow Guyanese citizens, the poor people who are in the majority.

There are two Ministers with responsibility for housing, but sadly not much has been done since 2015 in terms of the actual construction of houses and the jobs that can be created through this. I do acknowledge the work done by Minister Patterson-Yearwood who is responsible for housing within the Ministry of Communities, and ensures that house lots are made available for many Guyanese who had their applications in the system for many years and today they are house lot owners.

As commendable as this may be, this is not the principal mandate and primary objective of this ministry as set out by the President in his well-articulated vision for housing. The building of communities as posited by our President, requires houses to be built on those lands and that people should live in them.

Since 2015, this ministry without a shortage of funds has not built two hundred houses as yet.

The houses that are being built by the Ministry are too expensive for the average Guyanese public servant, who works for less than US$500 per month. The price tag of over seven million for those 24-30 two bedroom flat houses are burdensome and will cause the poor to be poorer. Furthermore, I do not believe there is a lending institution that will provide a loan for one to purchase a duplex house/apartment in the country.

The Food for the Poor Organization is doing what the Ministry is not, and that is to build houses which are affordable for the average paid worker in this country. With over a billion plus dollars spent, what is there to show that is noteworthy? Food for the Poor has recently boasted about the 3500 houses it has built already for the poor in our country and is now taking their project to the interior and rural communities.

What is this Ministry doing to achieve the President’s vision of building communities? The Minister of Housing has the opportunity to create a multiplicity of opportunities for countless Guyanese to gain employment by clearing the land, selling the materials for the drainage and water system, lighting, building materials for the houses, the actual building of those houses as well as creating possibilities for youngsters to learn a skill.

Countless young Guyanese are being deprived of not only work but the pride and joy of home ownership. We need a Minister of Housing, not house lots.

It is unfortunate that an organization like Food for the Poor has to lead the way with its mandate of building houses for Guyanese.

Yours faithfully,

(Name and address provided)

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